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Our Little Frankish Cousin of Long Ago Review by Tammy Walker

Written by Evaleen Stein
Yesterday's Classics
Lisa M. Ripperton
PO Box 3418
Chapel Hill, NC 27515
(919) 357-8824

Yesterday's Classics has sought to bring back classic books of literature from the "golden age of children's literature" from 1880 to 1920, many of which have been out of print and are difficult to find. Each work is offered in high-quality paperback editions in 6 X 9 perfect binding. Most of the original illustrations are reprinted when possible. Though most of the texts are historical fiction and non-fiction from many different time periods and civilizations, the site also boasts a wide range of classic works about nature (The Natural History Book, The Burgess Animal Book for Children, Among the Farmyard People, and Parables from Nature are a few), faith, legends, and classic literature. Under the subject of Faith, you will find titles such as The Nursery Book of Bible Stories, Our Island Saints, Saints and Heroes Since the Middle Ages, and the Pilgrim's Progress. Several titles related to Legends include, In the Days of Giants, Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children, The Red Indian Fairy Book, and King Arthur and His Knights. When putting together a reading list for the ancient period, the Middle Ages, or even modern history, you will find ample tales and non-fiction works and compilations from Greece, Rome, England, and the New World, most told in an engaging way to draw in young children.

High quality materials from an era when children were reading more challenging works allows this company to stand out among others. But another quality of great value to home teachers on a budget is the affordability of the titles, each book averaging under $10! And, if you are uncertain about the quality and value, the website offers you the opportunity to preview 20, 30, 40 pages or more of each of their selections before you buy. Also on the website, look for the selections of Yesterday's Classics used by Ambleside Online, Living Books Curriculum, and Pageant of History.

Our Little Frankish Cousin of Long Ago is one of many in a series written by various authors which give young readers a glimpse into the lives of "cousins" from different time periods in history. See also Our Little Athenian, Spartan, Macedonian, Roman, Carthaginian, Saxon, Viking, Celtic, Norman, Crusader, or Feudal Cousin of Long Ago.

In our tale, we follow the twelve year old Rainolf as he joins the court of Charlemagne. Through his eyes, we are given bits of Frankish history before and during the reign of Charlemagne. We learn how the king came to power, his love of learning, and how he desired to educate the masses. We learn many interesting pieces about life, dress, occupations, food, and entertainment as Rainolf serves the king and interacts with the other pages and members of the court. Interwoven in this historical fiction is also the story of Roland the knight, told by a traveling minstrel or minnesinger. Read within the framework of the Middle Ages, you and your children will gain an interesting glimpse into the time period when Charlemagne ruled. (Did you know that many in this period ate mostly meat? That books were very scarce, each hand-printed by monks? That elephants were unknown to common people at this time?) Use this as a quick read aloud (78 pages total), or allow your child 8 and older to read himself. You will both be enlightened and entertained!

Product Review by Tammy Walker, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February, 2009